Kostas Georgakis

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Kostas Georgakis (Greek: Κώστας Γεωργάκης) (August 23, 1948 Corfu, Greece - September 19, 1970 Genoa, Italy), was a Greek student of Geology, who set himself ablaze in Genoa, Italy as a protest against the Greek military junta of 1967-1974.

Georgakis was studying at the University of Genoa and since 1968 he was a member of the Center Union party. In July 1970 he released anonymously an interview to a newspaper in which he revealed the military junta's intelligence infiltration of the Greek students' movements in Italy, aiming to identify and denounce the democratic students. Georgakis' identity was rapidly discovered, and fearing for his family in Greece he decided that he had to make an impressive act to raise the attention of the Western public opinion on the condition of his country; in the early hours of September 19, 1970, Georgakis set himself ablaze in Matteotti square in Genoa to protest against the dictatorial government of George Papadopoulos.

Georgakis is the only known junta opponent to have committed suicide in protest against the junta and he is considered the precursor of the later student protests, such as the Polytechnic uprising. At the time his death caused a sensation in Greece and abroad as it was the first tangible manifestation of the depth of resistance against the junta. The junta delayed the arrival of his remains to Corfu for four months fearing public reaction and protests.

The Municipality of Corfu has dedicated a memorial in his honour near his home in Corfu city. His sacrifice was later recognized and honoured by the new democratic Hellenic Government after the restoration of democracy.

In his monument an inscription with his words reads in Greek: I cannot but think and act as a free individual.

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